Bil Browning

Gays = evangelicals?

Filed By Bil Browning | April 09, 2007 7:46 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: evangelical Christian, heterosexual privilege, LGBT community, politics, Roseanne Barr

What do you think of this statement? It's from Roseanne Barr. She was co-hosting a radio call-in show that featured an interview with African-American lesbian activist (and blogger!) Jasmyne Cannick:

Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who's politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don't care about minimum wage, they don't care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder.

I've never heard any of them say anything except for "accept me 'cause I'm gay." It's just, it's screwed. It's no different than the evangelicals, it's the same mindset. They want you to accept Jesus and you guys want us to all believe it's ok to be gay. And a lot of us, a lot of them, I do, I don't give a damn who anybody has sex with, as long as they're not underage and an animal. I don't give a damn, it's none of my damn business. I'm just sick of all the divisiveness, it's not getting any of us anywhere.


Here at bilerico.com we focus in primarily on LGBT issues. Feminism, the war and a few other topics get covered occasionally, but that's about it. But, our mission is to provide quality LGBT stories and information. We've narrowed our scope purposefully.

But it's certainly not the only thing that I think or talk about. What about you? What other issues are you involved with? Or do you agree with Roseanne that the LGBT community tends to be rather one-note?

And evangelicals? That's rough, Roseanne. Rough.


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I disagree wholeheartedly. I know for a fact that Jesus MCC is involved in several outreach efforts, including Save Darfur and locally with the animal shelter as well as Horizon House. Her statement was obviously not well thought out and she joins the ranks of others with a big mouth in the news lately (Gen. Pace, Imus, Hardaway, etc.)

Stop The Madness | April 9, 2007 9:37 PM

I am a big fan of Roseanne, but this one is over the top.

She mas a minor--MINOR--point. We tend to place our sexuality above other important issues at times.

But it's like being in a large hole. It takes time to crawl out, and sometimes you're exhausted from the climb.

Lately, especially in Indiana (SJR7, etc.), it's a damned-near fulltime job being gay and protecting your flank.

Let me catch me breath, Roseanne, and I'll try to muster up some concern for other worldly issues. Any perceived slight is unintentional.

She's a funny woman. Just 90% wrong on this one.

I'll probably boycott Roseanne reruns for two weeks.

I don't really think you can make blanket statements like "all" of "anything" is something. Are there narcissistic gays? Of course. Are *all* gays narcissistic? Of course not.

The problem with nailing down a "profile" of the "typical" GLBT person is that a significant segment of the group is hidden in the closet.

The other problem is the media looking for the extreme "typical" to put on the front page, the lead story, etc., and those usually happen to be narcissistic or a caricature of whatever group they are trying to define. Unfortunately for the GLBT folks, the hidden closeted segment is also the counterbalance to the visible caricature. Other groups are more recognizable, and therefore able to overcome the media "portrait".

That leaves the clueless general public thinking that we are "all" like "that".

It isn't just us. I think good ole La'Shar of the Advance America rally is another good example of media looking for a "typical" evangelical.

Sure, it sells papers and ad time, but it doesn't really do the "average" Joe any favors.

Speaking of a narcissist, what's with Roseanne? Wasn't she gay once? Or was that just on her show? I know she went through a period that she seemed very gay friendly.

I disagree with the way that Rosanne phrased this (she comes off sounding totally ignorant), but I think she has a point. I think that the LGBT community has become too focused on the issue of marriage equality and lost sight of other important issues.

For example, it's very difficult to talk to many white gay men about the need to support women's reproductive rights. They think, "I don't have a vagina. I don't want to be around a vagina. What's this got to do with me?" But we can't forget that Roe v. Wade established a right to privacy, it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Where would we be as a community without this legal protection?

While the LGBT community is focusing on marriage equality legislation, the federal goverment is slashing funding for HIV/AIDS services. No on will die if they can't get married. But not having access to your AZT is a life and death situation.

It's certainly unfair that heterosexual couples are afforder over 1300 federal benefits that same-sex couples do not enjoy. But I think we've forgotten the important critique of marriage that was offered by the lesbian/feminist community during the women's liberation movement. Marriage always has been and always will be an oppressive institution. So why are we flocking to support it?

I'm not trying to say that all gays are one way or the other. I just think that as a movement, we've painted ourselves into a corner, and right now it's very difficult to find a way out.

I think she's a sad woman just trying to get a little publicity. She's shown up here and there on TV but let's face it..she is so-oo 15 yrs. ago!! She was a great comedienne but difficult to deal with. Her whole bit is to be ragging on somebody.
I really never did like her attitude on gay people, I always got the impression there was a little conflict there. As far as her comment goes; maybe we are concerned about ourselves, so what? Being gay today has become more of a political thing than a sex thing - except for the young hotties on Gaywatch! Old farts like me find
other areas of interest in life; some are the political aspects of being a gay american, some things have nothing to do with being gay at all.
Instead of being a gay artist, I'm an artist that just happens to be gay!!

Oh, and Roseanne is just the poster child for political action! *smirk* And narcissist? Coming from the woman that had more plastic surgery than Cher, that's rich! No, there's not any transference going on there, no sir!

Roseanne really doesn't always think things through before she says them - but neither do I, so there you go. I'll bet if she thought about that more, she'd realize the blanket generalization was too much.

I have to admit that there are times I feel the same way about some of my fellow gay politicos - concerned only wiht the LGBT impact of elections; no the whole picture.

I'm not a single-issue voter, which I why I'm a Democrat, even in Indiana, where the Dems aren't a whole lot better than the Repubs on gay issues.

I guess I'll try and remember that when I'm at the rally on Sunday to end the Genocide in Darfur. Unless Roseanne is trying to say that somehow I must be from Darfur. Maybe its Roseanne who needs to broaden her horizons in her selection of friends.
I'll admit, in our civil rights struggle we sometimes do loose track of the many issues that are larger than our issue. But in fairness, it is my belief that if we fix whats broken in society regarding discrimination and gay civil rights, a huge number of the other issues will get fixed too. Its hard for Americans to be apathetic about genocide if we all regard people and their right to exist as a moral imperative. All the hate comes from the same place. If we stamp it out, we help others too. So lick it Roseanne..

It was an unfair blanket comment, and totally ignores the issue of framing, which is something one would think she'd show some sensitivity, given the ups and downs her public persona has taken over the years.

On the rare occasion that LGBT activists are given an opportunity to make our voices heard in the media, what's the topic they ask us about? That's right. Politically active LGBT people get asked questions about LGBT issues, because that's the platform on which they seek our insight (when the coverage is neutral or favorable) or try to make us look bad (when the coverage is hostile).

It's a mistake to think that LGBT activists aren't concerned with other issues just because the media tends to treats LGBT commenters as one-note instruments.

Wow. This story is popular. :)

Stop, I'm with you on this one. She does have a minor point. Several of the LGBT activists I know are primarily concerned with LGBT issues. All of them are also interested in other progressive issues as well, but LGBT issues remain at the forefront.

But I think Arkades is really on to something here... Of course media representations of LGBT folk will focus primarily on LGBT issues - after all, that's what they're experts in. To ask an LGBT activist to come on TV and talk about Darfur wouldn't make sense! The problem, I think, is that she isn't speaking about "talking heads," she means the average Joe/Jane Queer.

While I agree that she's over-generalized, there is still a nugget of truth in this. We do tend to focus on our sexuality. Think of the conversation that repeats over and over about gay African-Americans. Are they black first? Or gay? Does it matter? Why do we feel we need to choose a primary motivator?

Seems to me that the reason many GLBT folks spend so much time dealing with their own issues is because they are forced to. The government is trying to pass laws that would marginalize them. Comics make fun of them. Anti-GLBT groups rally against them. They have to take care of their immediate needs first. Maybe if people would leave them alone they would have more time to devote to other causes.